By Jueseppi B.
Photo of the Day: A St. Patrick’s Day Lunch
Yesterday, President Obama held a bilateral meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the White House before the two leaders traveled to the Capitol for a St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon. In their Oval Office meeting — the fifth since President Obama took office — the President and Taoiseach reaffirmed the incredible bond between the United States and Ireland.
President Barack Obama, Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, talk together during a St. Patrick’s Day lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In Case You Missed It
Here are some of the top stories from the White House blog:
President Obama’s Bracket for the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament
President Obama makes his picks for the 2013 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. He has Louisville, Ohio State, Florida, and Indiana headed to the Final Four.
Affordable Care Act at 3: Holding Insurance Companies Accountable
The Department of Health and Human Services is celebrating the 3rd anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.
Encouraging Young Women to Become the Leaders and Advocates of Tomorrow
In honor of Women’s History Month, the White House welcomes a group of high school students to participate in a conversation with a mentoring panel featuring women from a diverse range of fields and backgrounds.
All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).
6:25 AM: The President arrives Tel Aviv, Israel.
6:30 AM: The President takes part in an official arrival ceremony.
7:30 AM: The President views an Iron Dome Battery.
8:00 AM: The Vice President hosts a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in honor of Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
10:00 AM: The President arrives at the residence of President Peres and signs the guest book.
10:10 AM: The President participates in a tree planting ceremony.
10:15 AM: The President and his delegation participate in a photo with President Peres and his delegation.
10:25 AM: The President and President Peres of Israel hold a restricted bilateral meeting.
11:05 AM: The President and President Peres of Israel deliver statements to the press.
11:30 AM: The President arrives at the residence of Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and signs the guest book.
11:45 AM: The President and Prime Minister Netanyahu hold a restricted bilateral meeting.
2:05 PM: The President and Prime Minister Netanyahu hold a press conference.
2:50 PM: The President and Prime Minister Netanyahu meet for a working dinner.
Dr. Jill Biden
04:40 PM EDT
As a community college teacher, I know that excellence happens every day in community college classrooms and campuses across this country. Both in my classroom and when I’m on the road visiting community colleges, I am fortunate to see firsthand the tremendous impact these schools have on so many students. I see students striving, teachers inspiring, and administrators innovating – each doing their best to make the community college experience richer and more meaningful. President Obama has made community colleges a centerpiece of his goal to have the best-educated, most competitive workforce in the world.
Earlier today at the Newseum in Washington, DC, leaders in education and business congratulated Santa Barbara City College from California and Walla Walla Community College from Washington for being selected as co-winners of the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Kingsborough Community College – CUNY from New York and Lake Area Technical Institute from South Dakota were honored as finalists-with-distinction.
05:20 PM EDT
Today, President Obama held a bilateral meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the White House before the two leaders traveled to the Capitol for a St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon.
In their Oval Office meeting — the fifth since President Obama took office — the President and Taoiseach reaffirmed the incredible bond between the United States and Ireland.
“We have an incredibly strong partnership on economic issues, on security issues,” President Obama said. “The Taoiseach has shown great leadership during difficult times in Ireland. And we’re seeing progress in the Irish economy.”
Noting one example of this progress, President Obama mentioned a deal to sell American-made planes to Ireland that will help businesses here in the U.S create jobs.
10:00 AM EDT
Yesterday President Obama continued what’s become a March tradition: For the fifth time, he sat down to fill out his brackets for the NCAA men and women’s basketball tournaments — and shared his picks with ESPN.
The President has Louisville, Ohio State, Florida, and Indiana headed to Atlanta for the Final Four.
He picked the Hoosiers to top the Cardinals in the National Championship game on April 8.
Download the full predictions here.
We’ll share the President’s pick for the women’s tournament on Friday. Be sure to check back!
10:29 AM EDT
This week, President Obama is making the first trip of his second term, visiting Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. We will be posting regular updates from the road and livestreaming several of the President’s events on whitehouse.gov/live.
- Wednesday, March 20 (2:05 PM ET) — President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu hold a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem
- Thursday March 21 (11:00 AM ET) — President Obama delivers a speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center
- Friday March 22 (11:45 AM ET) — President Obama and King Abdullah II of Jordan hold a press conference in Amman, Jordan
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
11:30 AM EDT
For decades before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, health care costs outstripped inflation, without corresponding improvements in health care quality. Our system didn’t incentivize quality or efficiency. We paid providers for the quantity of care, not the quality of care delivered. And we were not using technology to deliver smarter care.
The Affordable Care Act includes steps to improve the quality of health care and lower costs for you and for our nation as a whole. This means avoiding costly mistakes and readmissions, keeping patients healthy, rewarding quality instead of quantity, and creating the health information technology infrastructure that enables new payment and delivery models to work.
Here are just a few ways that the health care law builds a smarter health care system and incentivizes quality – not quantity of care – to drive down costs and save you money.
We’re Shifting the Focus to Quality, Not Quantity
The health care law creates new Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) that incentivize doctors and other providers to work together to provide more coordinated care to their patients. ACOs agree to take responsibility for the cost and quality of their patients and to improve care coordination, safety, and to promote appropriate use of preventive health services. And when this new care model saves the Medicare program money, that savings is shared with the ACO. Over 250 organizations are participating in Medicare ACOs, giving more than 4 million Medicare beneficiaries access to high-quality coordinated care throughout the nation. ACOs are estimated to save the Medicare program up to $940 million in the first four years.
The Affordable Care Act also ties Medicare Advantage bonus payments to the quality of coverage these private plans offer. This gives seniors a broader range of higher quality Medicare Advantage plans from which to choose. As a result, in 2013, the 14 million Medicare beneficiaries currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage have access to 127 four and five star plans, which is 21 more high-quality plans than were available in the previous year.
Keeping You Out of The Hospital
Every year, about 2.6 million seniors – or nearly one in five hospitalized Medicare enrollees – are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, at a cost of more than $26 billion to the Medicare program. Many of these readmissions stem from preventable problems. These rates can be drastically reduced if we do a better job coordinating care and support. The health care law’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program reduces Medicare payments to hospitals with relatively high rates of potentially preventable readmissions to encourage them to focus on this key indicator of patient safety and care quality.
We’re starting to see results. Medicare readmissions rates have remained stuck near 19 percent over the five years that the data has been collected (and likely for decades prior to that), but in 2012 the nationwide rate of hospital readmissions of Medicare patients declined to about 17.8 per cent. This translates to over 70,000 fewer preventable hospital readmissions.
Taken together these improvements are providing more value for your health care dollar and helping to fuel historically low cost growth rates in Medicare and Medicaid. Last year, Medicare cost growth increased by only 0.4 percent, continuing the historically low Medicare growth we saw in 2011 and 2010. Spending in Medicaid actually decreased 1.9 percent from 2011 to 2012.
And a recent report found that health care price inflation in January dropped to 1.5 percent, one of the smallest increases on record.
As the nation’s largest insurer, Medicare can lead the way in effective practices like this that deliver better care and drive down costs. Our goal is that these reforms and investments build a health care system that will ensure quality care for generations to come.
Learn more about key features of the Affordable Care Act:
Speeches and Remarks
Statements and Releases
White House Announces New Coordinator for Defense Policy, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Arms Control
Filed under: Affordable Health Care Act, Basketball, Black History, Business, Causes, Celebrity, Daily White House Schedule, Democrats/Democratic, Economy, Education, Event, Finance, Foreign Polocy, Good News, GOPukes/RepubliCANTS, Joy & Happiness, Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, News, Obama Week In Review, Photographs, Politics, POTUS Obama, Religion, Speech, Stories, The White House, The White House Daily Snapshot, War & the Military, White House Blog, World News Tagged: | Abuse/Domestic Violence/VAWA, Affordable Health Care Act, Barack Obama, BARACK The Vote, Black History, Business, Causes, Celebrity, Congress, Daily White House Schedule, Democrats/Democratic, economy, Education, Enda Kenny, Event, Foreign Polocy, Good News, GOPukes/RepubliCANTS, History, Jill Biden, John Boehner, Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security, Michelle Obama, News, Obama, Obama Truth Team, Oval Office, Patrick, Photographs, Politics, POTUS Obama, Saint Patrick's Day, Stories, Taoiseach, The White House, The White House Daily Snapshot, War & the Military, White House, white house blog, World News | Tagged: Barack Obama